ICS4U Grade 12 – Computer Science – Graphical User Interface Test

Grade 12 – Computer Science


Graphical User Interface – A Guide to Programming in Java Ch 11



  • GUI are programs written with a visual interface using components such as frames, panels, labels, buttons, combo boxes, and text field
  • Event Driven Application: clicked actions done on the GUI will create an event
  • Event Handler: is a method run when the event is done


Swing Package (javax.swing.*)

  • Swing package holds the APIs used for creating GUIs
  • Frame: is a window with a border, title, and buttons for minimizing, maximizing and closing the frame.
    • It is a top level container for the GUI, which holds and displays the components in a content frame
    • JFrame in the javax.swing.package package
    • setDefaultLookAndFeelDecorated(boolean): decorates the window with buttons
    • setDefaultCloseOperation(class_constant): tells the frame what to do when the user hits the close button, usually JFrame.EXIT_ON_CLOSE
    • getContentPane(): returns the pane object
    • setContentPane(JPanel object): connect a panel to the frame
    • Pack(): sizes the frames so all components are at or above their preferred sizes
    • setVisible(boolean): displays the frame when true
  • Panel: a frame uses a pane to hold GUI components. JPanel is one way of adding or removing components
    • Add(Component GUIcomponent): adds a the component onto the pane, which also returns the index of the component in the pane
    • Remove(int index): removes the component at index value
  • Label: class for creating labels that can display text values
    • JLabel(string): constructor
    • JLabel(string, align_constant): creates JLabel objet with text and aligment LEADING or TRAILING aligning left or right respectively
    • setText(String): change the text of the label
  • Swing applications run it’s own thread dispatched in the main() method
  • Thread: a process that runs sequentially from start to finish.
    • GUIs should be invoked from an event-dispatching thread to ensure that each event-handler finishes executing before the next one executes.
  • Buttons: a clickable element which executes a task
    • JButton(String): creates a button with string as name provided
    • setActionCommand(String cmd): sets the name of the action performed when the button is clicked to cmd
    • getActionCommand(): returns name of action that has been performed by the button
    • addActionListener(object): adds object that listens for the user to click this component

Handling Events

  • Listener: is an object that listens for action events
    • Listeners require the java.awt.event.* import
    • When an action occurs, it executes the event handler named actionPerformed()
    • actionPerformed(ActionEvent event): has an ActionEvent parameter passed by the GUI when an event occurs
    • Action command: a string describing an event
  • Using this for the listener object will refer to the GUI’s object itself
  • To implement the ActionListener, we add implements ActionListener to the class declaration and then defining actionPerformed() method.
  • A constructor for the class will define and construct the buttons
  • A listener ActionPerformed method is created to handle the button actions
  • The actionPerformed will look for the event using the event.getActionCommand(); method


Controlling Layout

  • Layout: refers to the arrangement of components in the GUI
  • Borders: are invisible, spaces that can be used to add padding around a component to give it distance from other components
  • Layout managers: determines the order of components on a content pane
    • FlowLayout: places them one next to another in a row, when a row gets too long, a new row is started (default)
    • BoxLayout: places components one after another in a column
    • GridLayout: places components into a grid of rows and columns
      • GridLayout(number of rows, number of columns, pixels between columns, pixels between rows)
      • GridLayout requires the java.awt.* statement
  • Alignment: refers to the placement of a component within a layout
    • setLayout(): used to specify a layout for the contentPane. BoxLayouts objects require arguments for arrangements. Vertical line layouts use PAGE_AXIS
    • setBorder(): specifies borders for the pane. BorderFactory object can specify different kinds of borders. createEmptyBorder() used for empty borders
    • setAlignment(): specifies the vertical alignment of the elements


Getting Input from user

  • Text Fields: allow users to enter information and then be prompted to submit the data
    • JTextField(int col): constructor for a text field
    • JTextField(String, int col): creates a text field with a default text in the field
    • getText(): returns the string containing in the text in JTextField
    • addActionListener(object): adds an object that listens for the user to press the enter key
  • All data retrieved from the text field are Strings, you need to convert them to double or integer if you need it
    • java.lang.Double
      • parseDouble(String): returns double value of String
      • toString(double num): returns string representation of num
    • java.lang.Integer
      • parseInteger(String text): returns int value of the string
      • toString(int num): returns string representation of num


Combo Boxes

  • Combo boxes offer users to select from a limited set of choices
  • JComboBox
    • JComboBox(Object[] items): constructor for combo box with an array of choices
    • setSelectedItem(int index): makes the item at index the selected item
    • getSelectedItem(): returns the String corresponding to the selected item
    • setEditable(boolean): allows text to be typed in the combo box
    • addActionListener(Object): adds object that listens for user to select an item from the component’s list
  • To handle events, you must have an event object casted to a JComboBox and then getSource(). Then you must retrieve the string in the combo box selected
    • JComboBox comboBox = (JComboBox)event.getSource();
    • String itemName = (String)comboBox.getSelectedItem();
    • These 2 lines are implemented in the actionPerformed method



  • Color class is located in the java.awt.* package that allows you to change the colours of GUI elements
    • setBackground(Color.constant): sets the background color of a component to constant from the Color class
    • setForeground(Color.constant): sets the foreground color



  • Images can be added onto a JLabel or JButton element in the form of GIF or JPG
    • JLabel(ImageIcon pic): creates JLabel object with that picture
    • setIcon(ImageIcon pic): sets the JLabel with that picture
    • Similar for buttons, JButtons have JButton(String str, ImageIcon pic) to have picture and text


Using Nested Classes to Handle Events

  • Sometimes with many buttons, you might need multiple buttons to handle all the events
  • In such circumstances, a class can be created inside a class to handle those events
  • When declaring the class inside, be sure to implement ActionListener as well as refer to that class when you are making buttons/event GUI elements